His days in Winnipeg were more about pain -- the X-Rays and MRIs, rehab, recovery and the accompanying frustration and disappointment -- than the joyful moments he hoped would happen on the football field.
It's true, Buck Pierce never guided the Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup title. Never led the Canadian Football League in passing and was never named to an all-star team. But this town left an impression on him -- and vice versa -- so much so that his exit Monday following a trade to the B.C. Lions for receiver Akeem Foster had a somewhat temporary feel to it.
'Football aside, it's been a great thing for me to be here in the city and be involved in this community. I can't thank the fan base and the organization enough for what they've done for me and my family. I also wanted to say that Winnipeg is my home and it's a place that I want to be and I will be here in the off-season and call it home. Hopefully some day in the future I can be back in some aspect of the organization'
-- Buck Pierce
"I was given an opportunity -- when a lot of people didn't give me an opportunity -- to come in here and be a part of something that was great," said Pierce. "I'm truly blessed to have had the opportunity to have donned the Blue Bomber uniform for four seasons.
"Football aside, it's been a great thing for me to be here in the city and be involved in this community. I can't thank the fan base and the organization enough for what they've done for me and my family.
"I also wanted to say that Winnipeg is my home and it's a place that I want to be and I will be here in the off-season and call it home. Hopefully some day in the future I can be back in some aspect of the organization."
The Bombers began shopping Pierce following the loss in Guelph on Aug. 24 and after adding QB depth in Jason Boltus and Levi Brown while committing to taking a look at Justin Goltz and Max Hall during the second half of the season.
The Lions, meanwhile, were looking for a veteran QB to back-up Travis Lulay. In Pierce they get a pivot familiar with their system and the offensive coaches -- both Jacques Chapdelaine and Dan Dorazio remain on B.C.'s staff some four years after his release by the Leos and arrival in Winnipeg.
Pierce, who has already had more than three quarters of his salary for 2013 paid by the Bombers, said he was caught off guard by the move even if he did have an inkling something might happen.
"I was sad at first because I know what this place and this community means to me," said Pierce, who is engaged to a Winnipeg gal. "All the friendships on and off the field and outside these walls as well that I have. That's the first emotion.
"I would have hoped that we had a couple Grey Cups and things would have gone a bit different on the football field. But I truly feel I'm leaving here as a guy who has had a positive impact on the organization and this community. At the end of the day that's really all that matters to me -- the relationships you have, the respect from people, from your peers. I wanted to come in and be a positive influence."
Pierce turns 32 in November and while many have rushed to have him retire in the past -- his numerous injuries here in Winnipeg kept him to 32 starts in three and a half years, of which he finished only 20 -- he won't walk away from playing until all options are exhausted.
"I definitely want to be around this game," he said. "I think I have a lot to offer. I don't know if I'll play one year, two years, three years or if I'll ever take a snap again. By my mindset is to go play football until they tell me to stop.
"I do want to be involved and I think I have a lot to offer, that time is just not now. I've got some good snaps in me still."
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